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Casting Call: 08' Election, Pt. I

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Both amateur and professional casting directors alike are abuzz with the glorious possibilities contained in the news that HBO Films has optioned the upcoming book Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. Game Change is written by Time Magazine's Mark Halperin and New York's John Heilemann. You might remember Halperin from his last book "The Way To Win: Taking the White House in 08," also known as "Every Single Thing I Said About The Election and Politics Was Dead Fucking Wrong, So How About a Sequel?" Indeed, basing a movie about the "real story" of the 08' election on a book written by Mark Halperin is sort of like having Erich von Daniken as your historical advisor for a movie about ancient Egypt, but enough about how the Internet is a dead end for political organizing and how the road to the White House runs through Matt Drudge and Karl Rove, let's get down to business, who is going to play whom? Even the NY Daily News has gotten down on the action with some good (Regina King as Michelle) but mostly bad suggestions (Will Smith as Obama? Paul Giamatti as McCain??), so I humbly submit to the HBO gods, my mostly serious casting call...

The Leads:

Barack Obama -- Harry Lennix


Hi I'm Harry Lennix, you might remember me from such television programs and films as...everything. Seriously, if you've turned on your TV anytime recently, chances are you've seen Mr. Lennix's work. He can currently be seen on Dollhouse and in the upcoming State of Play, but according to imdb this veteran of stage and screen has had guest and recurring roles on: House, ER, Ally McBeal, Judging Amy, JAG, Little Britain USA, The Practice, 24, and Commander in Chief. He was also the leader of the free world in the Matrix sequels. Don't remember him in those? That's probably because you've repressed that memory. Lennix is a Chi-Town native so that gives him some extra street cred, and let's be honest as soon as Obama won the election, you know he's been sitting by the phone waiting to hear this call from his agent. So, it's either him or Billy Dee Williams, because he's just so damn smooth.

Hillary Clinton -- Annette Bening

Julianne Moore is slated to portray her in HBO's upcoming movie about the "Special Relationship" between the US and UK--I think it's about international swinging or something--but for my money only Annette Bening is fit to fill this pant-suit. She's one of America's greatest actresses and over the course of her career she has played a variety of women from smart to ruthless to desperate to ambitious to deranged. Now she can bring it all home. She has also mastered the look of a permanently frozen death mask smile hiding deep seated terror, and as a bonus she's married to Warren Beatty. Do you think she can empathize with someone sick of playing second fiddle to a meglomaniacal cad?

John McCain -- Michael Hogan

Now I know I'm not the first nerdlinger to point this out, but just because something is popular doesn't mean it's not true. Not only does Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan look exactly like John McCain, he's already been playing him for the last five or so years on BSG. Let's run down the Saul Tigh/John McCain checklist: grizzled, bitter, short-tempered vet? Check. Foreign Policy Hawk? Check. POW experience? Check. Crippled? Check. Cindy McCain=Ellen Tigh? Check and Check. But perhaps more than anything as Saul, Hogan knows what it's like to play a man who has spent his entire life fighting for what he thought to be true, only to discover his entire identity was a fraud that could be conveniently cashed in at a moment's notice. America just wasn't ready for a Cylon president. (Spoiler Alert!)

Sarah Palin -- Laura Dern

Ahh the real star of the 08' campaign--this was a hard one, and I don't want to go over the same territory twice, but Dern was so good as right-wing ditz Katherine Harris in HBO's Recount, why not double up? She already has experience acting excited and animated next to a dinosaur and is well versed wandering through a deeply disturbing and seemingly unending nightmare devoid of all logic and narrative interpretation, so she could easily do any one of Sarah's answers to questions about the economy or foreign policy.

The Brain-Trust:

David Axelrod -- Richard Schiff

The only potential snag with Mr. Schiff playing David Axelrod is whether or not he would be willing to reprise his role as David Axelrod from all those years on The West Wing.

Steve Schmidt -- Michael Chiklis

Playing the former "Bushie" that was brought in to "shake-up" the McCain campaign during the summer (i.e., go negative) would be casting somewhat against type, because Mackey--I mean Chiklis--usually plays completely hairless men who are gruff, tough, and unethical, and to play Schmidt he'd have to be a completely hairless man who is nebbish, monotone, and unethical. If Chiklis won't go for it, then we could try one of those giant babies you see on Maury every now and again.

Mark Penn -- Graham Beckel

Another actor you might recognize from everything, Graham Beckel is probably best known for playing greasy, amoral creeps like his small part as Russell Crowe's sleazy, corrupt partner Dick Stensland in L.A. Confidential and as Jake Gyllenhaal's father-in-law in Brokeback Mountain. He's almost repulsive enough to play "micro-trend" guru and chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn, but if it doesn't work out, you could always go with John Carpenter's The Thing.


That's all for now. I wholeheartedly welcome suggested additions to this ensemble cast from you, my Dear Readers. In Part II, we'll cast The Runner-Ups and The Sideshows.